JGSWS meets on the second Monday of each month, from September through June. Admission is free.

NEXT MEETING (via Zoom):  

"How Not To Read a Jewish Tombstone," presented by Robin Meltzer

Monday, February 13, 2023, at 7 PM PDT via Zoom
(Zoom doors open at 6:30 PM)

To register for this meeting, click this link or copy it into your web browser:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Jewish tombstones are an invaluable source of genealogic information. Tombstone inscriptions can provide the deceased's Jewish religious ("Hebrew") name(s), original or alternate versions of family surnames, maiden surnames, the names of the deceased’s parents, his or her place of birth, age, profession, rabbinic lineage, community activities, even the names of living family members. But there are common problems that make it difficult for researchers to accurately translate and interpret Jewish tombstone inscriptions. Using examples from Jewish tombstones, the presentation will focus on building skills in understanding an inscription's context, determining the accuracy of the information presented, Jewish naming conventions, recognizing Kohain and Levite status and symbols, identifying rabbinic status, interpreting honorifics, and understanding Hebrew calendar dates and abbreviations. The presentation will also suggest best practices for on-site cemetery visits and tombstone photography..


An attorney and genealogist, Robin Meltzer assists families in obtaining legal records, discovering nontraditional information sources, and interpreting documentary evidence. Robin is an administrator of “Tracing the Tribe: Jewish Genealogy on Facebook,” co-founder of the “Jewish Community of the 15th Ward, Syracuse New York” Facebook group, Associate Producer of the documentary films Stories from the Syracuse Jewish Community and People and Places of the Syracuse Jewish Community, and a former vice-president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW). She lectures on topics in Jewish genealogy and research methodology and has appeared on the cable television program Tracing Your Family Roots. Robin has written articles on Jewish genealogy and local history appearing in several publications, including Avotaynu, Mishpacha, The Galitzianer, and the Jewish Observer of Central New York.

March 13, 2023: Ellen Kowitt, "Researching Jewish Families in America: Synagogue Records as a Genealogical Resource"
April 10, 2023: TBD